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As Adelaide's rivers and creeks meander from the hills down to the sea, they undergo a transformation along the way. Starting life as a clear bubbling stream flowing over mossy rocks in a natural green setting, as it reaches the urban areas a creek will often be channelled into concrete culverts and channels. While in the metropolitan area it picks up rubbish and silt before frequently disappearing into underground stormwater tunnels to reach the sea.
These tunnels often have an attraction for the urban explorer, and become a magnet for people interested in street art and graffiti. The entrance to one popular place (I will call it the Northern Art Tunnel) can be found in a suburban park near Adelaide.
Of course the northern suburbs are not the only place art can be found in a tunnel. Earlier this year Artsake Productions in conjunction with Fascination Street held an art exhibition in historic tunnels long hidden under the old Treasury building in Adelaide.
Even south of Adelaide it is not hard to find a tunnel filled with work from an eclectic mix of graffiti artists. Sometimes the tunnels are not fully covered over by concrete, rather by overhanging trees or bamboo plants - even buildings occasionally squat across the waterways.
If you decide to explore any of these (and I'm not suggesting that you do), then BE SAFE. Clearly the middle of winter is a bad time to be entering a stormwater drain, when a sudden shower of rain can change water levels and speed dramatically!
Other precautions to take include wearing non slip soled shoes, carrying a torch and mobile phone, and ideally explore with someone else.
The old Adelaide Treasury building houses other well known tunnels, although they are now thought to be linked basements rather than actual tunnels. Now re-purposed as the Adina Apartment Hotel, occasional open days are held where people can view the tunnels.
South of Adelaide is a hidden network of drains that has attracted much graffiti and tagging from local street artists. I stumbled across these tunnels while doing some urban exploration near a disused Scout hall.
Access to the drains is easily accessible from a popular local park and skate facility, but camouflaged by foliage and undergrowth. The drains start as a rocky open area, then the walls become progressively higher and at times are covered over by buildings or heavy plant growth.
It's not known how much new legislation will impact on graffiti artists - penalties have been toughened significantly. But for locations such as these, street art causes no impact or offence to others.
It's a secret playground for many young people in Adelaide, and I hope it survives.
Good article, but that "usin" is actually USN, which stands for the graffiti crew unstoppable nature. Also, "work in progress" is actually finished, it's even one of the oldest and most respected pieces in that drain.
@bryony. So if person A gets permission and person B does not and they do the same thing we have now defined person B as a troublemaker even though they caused no trouble and the paint person B used "wrecks public property" whereas the paint person A used does not, even though it is the same paint? This is not strong argument, to put it mildly. These are hidden drains, not visible buildings.